Thursday, December 18, 2014

LR Restaurant Review: Mama's Gyros Grill


In Little Rock, my favorite place to get Greek food is Layla's, and I am incredibly snarky and judgmental when we try any other restaurants.  So far, nothing has come close to their wonderful, authentic food.  So, when Josh suggested we try out this little storefront called Mama's Gyros Grill in Sherwood, I was not optimistic.  Boy, was I wrong.



When we walked in, we found a clean and spacious dining room with incredibly helpful staff.  I chatted with the cook about the Greek dressing and found they make most things in house.  I ordered up a falafel supreme with a Greek salad.



The dressing was bright, lemonly and delicious.  I loved it, and the falafel was great too.  The balls weren't overly fried, which happens at many restaurants.  There was hot sauce and even a pickle inside!


Unfortunately, the hours for the restaurant are kind of weird.  They're open during the day, but they are pretty far from where I work and live.  They close early at nights and aren't open on the weekends.  If Josh and I are in the area on a Friday afternoon again, we'll definitely go back.


Mama's Gyros on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Quinoa, Cabbage, and Kale Lunch Salad


I'm trying to get more veggies in my diet.  It seems like as soon as the weather turned cold, I went to eating toast, sandwiches and pancake at every meal.  So, I wanted to come up with something that was hearty and healthy for my work lunch.  I like to make stack salads, but I thought, why not a stack quinoa bowl?


I was so happy with how these turned out, and I think you will be too.  If you like, make sure to bring some hot sauce to spice it up.


Quinoa, Cabbage, and Kale Lunch Salad
Makes 5 large lunches

Ingredients

  • 1 head of red cabbage
  • 1 1/2 cup red quinoa
  • 5 cups chopped kale
  • 1 tbs vegan butter
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • juice from 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 tbs spicy mustard per container (5)
  • 1 tbs balsamic vinegar per container (5)
  1. Cook quinoa in a rice cooker or on the stove top per these instructions.
  2. While quinoa is cooking, chop red cabbage into thin strips.
  3. Heat a wok on medium/high heat.
  4. Add 1 tbs olive oil to pan.
  5. Add cabbage and cover with lid to steam.
  6. Stir often and cook until soft.
  7. While cabbage is cooking, chop garlic and kale.
  8. Add 1/2 tsp to cabbage and pour into a large bowl.
  9. In the same pan, add kale, garlic, 1/2 tsp salt, and juice from 2 lemons.
  10. Saute for 5 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic.
  11. Add the nutritional yeast, stock and almonds.
  12. Cook down for 10 minutes.
  13. Once quinoa is done, toss with vegan butter and a pinch of salt.
  14. Let everything cool before assembling the salad.
  15. To assemble, place 1 tbs in bottom of container, cover with 1/3 to 1/2 cup quinoa, then red wine vinegar, then 1 cup cabbage, then 1/2 cup kale mixture.  
  16. To eat, warm up in microwave for 2 minutes and mix together.
  17. Keep in the fridge for up to a week.



The key to cooking the cabbage down is steaming it.  It may seem like a ton at first, but it will cook down quite a bit.




I had to make a little baby salad to try the combination.  Man, it was good.  I love the idea of a grain, a green and cabbage.  You could make all sorts of combinations.




I love the combination of spicy mustard and balsamic vinegar.



This healthy, hearty lunch is sure to keep you from snacking throughout the day.


Also, if you loved my roasted beet and grapefruit salad, head over and give it a vote on Virtual Vegan Potluck!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Perfect Saturday


It's not often that I do recap posts about my day anymore, although it's something that I will try to do every once in awhile.  This Saturday, though, was so perfect, that I thought I would share it with you.

Josh and I got up around 7:30 in the morning, got cleaned up and dressed, and headed out.  He headed down to the Arkansas Innovation Hub to spend the morning building battle bots, and I headed to the Embassy Suites to participate in Light Up Your Heart.

Photo from Light Up Your Heart
It was a great event with a big turnout.  We did an hour of yoga, and I was one of the student to volunteer to demo their practice, which basically meant if you were new to yoga, there were several of us in the crowd you could watch.  My friend Erin B. came with me as well, and we decided to grab lunch afterwards at Kobe.




We both got salads and veggie rolls.  I had never been before, and there are places I like in town more, but if I'm in the area and need Japanese food, I would go back.


After lunch, I went home to change and met Josh over at the Launch Pad for Beer, Brats & 'Bots.  Teams of three spent all morning working on their bots, then they opened the doors to the public at noon and had a battle!  It was $10 dollar admission, which got you pure joy and entertainment, plus beer.  It was the most fun I've had in an afternoon in quite a long time.





There was a huge crowd, and everyone looked like they were having a blast.  The innovation center is such a cool space, and it's continuing to grow.  Josh and I want to look into a membership when they get their wood and metal shop finished.  They already had several laser cutters that I was itching to use.

Sadly, Josh's team got knocked out in the first round.  He still had a good time, though, and will be back for more competitions.




All the robotics and nerdiness gave us an appetite, so we headed to Senor Tequila in our neighborhood for dinner.  We hadn't had a good ol' Mexican food date in a long time, so we lingered over chips and local papers.




I love their veggie fajitas, although their spicy salsa was particularly hot and gave Josh and I a stomach ache.  We consoled ourselves by watching Harry Potter movies and building a new lego set.  Yes, we are 10 year olds, and it's awesome.





Basil supervised the Hobbit house construction, and in the end, she didn't try to steal away any of the pieces.


So yeah, that's my perfect, nerdy Saturday.  I can't wait to go to more events at the AR Innovation Hub.  What's your perfect Saturday?

Friday, December 12, 2014

VVP 2014: Roasted Beet and Grapefruit Salad


The time has arrived... it's Virtual Vegan Potluck!  This is my first year, and I'm really excited.  When I heard that the special ingredient was citrus, I immediately thought of grapefruit.


The grocery isles are bursting with beautiful oranges, clementines, and of course, grapefruit.  So, I started to think about how to incorporate this into a salad, and I immediately thought of beets.  I have been a beet-phobe for as long as I can remember, but this year, I branched out and began cooking with them.  First, I used them in a chili, then in a salad, and now I am hooked.



This salad is bright, tart, and rich.  It's very simple to make, and it doesn't have many ingredients.  I'm sure that it would be a hit at your holiday gatherings.  It's also a light dish to accompany so many heavy dishes you might find at a party.


Roasted Beet and Grapefruit Salad
Serves 4 large meal size servings or 6 appetizer servings

Ingredients:

  • 5 oz baby lettuce
  • 1 grapefruit
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, shelled
  • 7 beets
  • 5 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • a generous pinch of sea salt
  • cracked pepper
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees (F).
  2. Using gloves, cut off beet greens and save.  
  3. Peel beets under running water.
  4. Slice beets into large discs.
  5. On a large cookie sheet, cover bottom with foil.
  6. Place beets on foil, pour 1 tbs olive oil and generous pinch of salt.
  7. Place thyme over beets.
  8. Cover with foil.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes covered.
  10. While beets are baking, toss lettuce with juice from 2 lemons and 1 tbs olive oil.
  11. Let rest in the fridge while beets are cooking.
  12. Cut grapefruit in half.  Use a knife to cut out each piece.  
  13. Remove pieces and place on a plate.
  14. Place in the fridge while beets cook.
  15. Smash pistachios in a chopper or with a knife.
  16. After 30 minutes, remove foil on beets.
  17. Bake for another 10-15 minutes, depending on how crispy you like your beets.
  18. Assemble salad!  Place lettuce in a bowl, top with beets and grapefruit and sprinkle pistachios on top.  Finish with a very small pinch of sea salt.


Make sure you keep your beet greens.  They are a great addition to stir fry, and I like to roast them and eat them with squash.  Basil, our cat, kept trying to steal the greens.


She got very angry when I kept trying to take them away.  I have no idea why our cat has such an obsession with greens, but whenever I bring home groceries, she always tries to eat them.




I promise you, beets are not scary to cook.  You will be rewarded by your efforts with an earthy, delicious topping to your salad.  I wear gloves when I cut them, and I do everything by the sink for easy clean up.




I really hope you enjoy this salad, and I know you need to get moving to the other dishes in the potluck.  Everyone has done such a wonderful job, and there are many great recipes to see.  So, click the buttons below to keep moving through all the posts, and enjoy!


If you are jumping into the potluck at my post, click below to go to the beginning!


or click here for a full list of blog posts.